Monday 10 December 2018

Tottenham hit back to edge nine-goal thriller

Leicester had been leading 3-1 at Wembley.

Harry Kane scored twice as Tottenham bowed out at Wembley with a win
Harry Kane scored twice as Tottenham bowed out at Wembley with a win

By Jonathan Veal, Press Association Sport

Tottenham said goodbye to Wembley in style as they came from behind to beat Leicester 5-4 in a thrilling final-day Premier League encounter.

Spurs are returning to their rebuilt White Hart Lane stadium next season after playing this term at the national stadium and braces from Harry Kane and Erik Lamela and a Christian Fuchs own goal gave them the win that sealed third place.

Kane’s two goals took his tally to 30 for the season and it was an encouraging performance ahead of this summer’s World Cup, but he ultimately fell two goals short in his pursuit of a third successive Golden Boot.

Leicester were great value and played their part, having led 3-1, with two goals for Jamie Vardy and one apiece from Riyad Mahrez and Kelechi Iheanacho.

All the focus was on whether Kane could catch leading scorer Mohamed Salah, but it was his England team-mate Vardy who got in on the action first.

Vardy was unmarked to head Mahrez’s fourth-minute free-kick into the far corner for his 19th league goal of the campaign.

It took just three minutes for Kane to make his mark, though, as Lucas Moura won the ball high up the pitch and released his team-mate, who raced in on goal and fired past Eldin Jakupovic at the near post.

It was his 40th goal of the season, the most by a Spurs player since Clive Allen bagged 49 in the mid-1980s.

Leicester, though, had not come for a party and regained the lead in the 16th minute when Mahrez lashed home from the edge of the area after Victor Wanyama was dispossessed.

It was a good job Spurs had already booked their top-four spot as they were second best and only a brilliant stop from Hugo Lloris kept the deficit at one as the France international produced a fine one-handed save to keep out Demarai Gray’s effort.

There was absolutely nothing Lloris could do about Iheanacho’s stunning strike that did extend Leicester’s lead two minutes after the restart.

After a poor header from Eric Dier, Iheanacho picked the ball up, shrugged off Wanyama’s challenge and launched an unstoppable effort from 25 yards that rifled into the top corner.

Spurs looked dead and buried, but an incredible three-goal blast in 11 minutes turned the game in their favour.

Two minutes after Iheanacho’s effort Lamela got his first league goal since August 2016 when he tapped home from Kyle Walker-Peters’ low cross at the end of a neat move.

It was all-square in the 53rd minute when Lamela’s shot went in off Fuchs for an own goal and the comeback was complete seven minutes later with a carbon copy of Lamela’s first – the Argentinian converting another Walker-Peters cross from close range.

The Foxes were still not budging and after Lloris produced another fine save to deny Iheanacho, they got themselves back level in the 73rd minute when Vardy got in behind the defence and smashed high into the roof of the net from an acute angle.

Kane, though, had the final say and bowed out on 30 league goals and it was a beauty, as he left Hamza Choudhury for dead and curled the ball into the far corner to end the match and Tottenham’s Wembley stay in fine fashion.

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